NEW CANAAN, Conn. – When Lauren and Megan Palladino considered opening their own business, the New Canaan sisters knew it had to be in their hometown.
“This is the town we love and know,’’ said Megan, who opened The Candy Scoop at 72 Park St. in New Canaan in November. “It had to be New Canaan. There was no other option.”
Megan, 22, graduated from Quinnipiac University in May in business, and Lauren, 25, earned a degree in education. They talked frequently while growing up about owning a business together. They have also seen their father run a successful septic cleaning business in town.
“There were other towns, but it just didn’t feel right,’’ Megan said. “The people we know are in town. My father’s business is in a completely different field, but it is family based. That’s the way we’ve built our business. When we opened, we had our mother, aunt and grandmother helping us, our brother is building the website.”
The sisters worked at a New Canaan toy store as teenagers. They identified a need in town for a candy store that catered to women and children and hashed out a business plan that would attract both.
“We had spoken to people and they missed having a candy store in town,’’ Megan said. “The idea was to re-create it with specialty chocolates. We wanted something where moms an run in and purchase a nice gift, and kids can run in and get something, too.”
One niche the Palladino sisters have already developed is children’s birthday parties. Party options include cupcake decorating, filling candy jars, making candy necklaces and jewelry, or filling Pixy Stix. The young women can also provide pizza, forks, cakes, party favors and even a face painter.
They are also planning adult-themed events, such as an upcoming wine and chocolate tasting. More events will be scheduled throughout the year.
Megan said the new business opportunity came along more quickly than they imagined. “We always talked about opening a store together,’’ she said. “There’s no time like the present. I think because we’re a younger we bring a different perspective to things.”
The sisters found space close to municipal parking and near the town’s main retail hub. It is also near New Canaan Music, another popular destination for mothers and children. The family renovated a storage space for the store. “People say it’s cozy and welcoming,’’ Megan said. “That was our goal.”
The Candy Scoop carries specialty chocolates, fudge, holiday candy and gifts, chocolate covered pretzels and cotton candy. Shoppers will also find candy gift baskets, candy buffets and party favors.
Megan said the whole venture seemed to come together at the right time. Lauren, who was working at a New Canaan day care center, is comfortable around the children. Megan’s strength is her business acumen. Together, they plan to make The Candy Scoop a thriving community-based business.
“Growing up around my dad’s business, it instilled in us that the customer needs to be valued,’’ Megan said. “We had the opportunity that many don’t have to see the experience of how to run a business every day. That’s a great aspect to bring to this store. It does make a difference.”